Albert is currently moored at Debdale Wharf awaiting a grit blast and blacking so we have taking some local trips. We chose yesterday to take four of our friends on a short day trip to Market Harborough and back. However when we looked at the forecast and on Monday, seeing the warnings, we offered our friends the chance to rearrange. Roy, who plays a lot of golf, poo-pooed the idea stating that in these circumstances the weather isn't usually nearly as bad as forecast and when the sun comes out you regret having cancelled. "After all you just get wet" he said. It turned out he was right.
Forecast for 23rd July at Market Harborough - Lots of Heavy Rain
Although it was dull and threatening at home in Northants, we arrived a Debdale in glorious sunshine. We left to have a coffee break at Foxton and it was then that the heavens opened and we got the predicted thunder and lighting. It happened just as I was showing the men of the group, Roy and Alex, the inclined plane and the lock flight. We were forced to take shelter under a bridge but we did indeed get very wet.
Sheltering in the rain
Foxton Locks in the rain (which got a lot heavier)
However, the intense rain didn't last long and we were soon on our way in sunshine with Roy & Alex operating the pedestrian swing bridge.
The second swing bridge, the road bridge at Foxton, turned into something of a saga. Two boats were already at the bridge when we arrived and the crews were telling us stories of not being able to open the bridge and getting their BW keys stuck in the electrical operating box. The bridge is manually operated but it has electrical interlocks that are linked to the road barriers - that is why the key was stuck. Why we couldn't swing the bridge open was something of a mystery.
Discussing the stuck swing bridge
A phone call to CRT put us in touch with the local maintenance staff who suggested we check that the swing mechanism was blocked. It didn't look blocked, although it was dark under the bridge and difficult to see what was going on. The assembled group then decided to try a lot of manpower and swing the bridge too and fro to try and clear any debris. This had the desired effect. The bridge finally began to move but with a considerable amount of grinding noise from underneath the deck. It was then obvious that a lot of grit had collected on the tracks where the wheels ran and this had caused it to seize. We got the bridge open just as CRT staff arrived. Below the bridge deck was a large accumulation of grit and stones that had been washed down the road and lodged in the mechanism. Some canal water applied by a watering can, and a sweep with a broom, fixed it properly and the four boats were on their way (one more had arrived during the process).
Swing Bridge at Foxton (on our return)
The Market Harborough arm is rural and pleasant and with sunny weather so we had great journey down to the basin. We moored up for a late lunch on board and in good weather returned to Foxton for a late afternoon tea.
Footbridge near Foxton
Delightful canal-side garden near Market Harborough
Lin, Maggie, Jenny, Alex and Roy at Foxton
Foxton Locks Inn in sunshine
The weather was better when we returned to Foxton and the whole group then had an extended walk around the inclined plane and locks before we returned to Debdale. An enjoyable day's boating - I think Roy was quite right.